By Perez Brisibe
AN associate professor and chairman, Nigeria Institutions of Environment Engineers, NIEE, Asaba chapter, Dr. Hilary Owamah has lamented the rising spate of unemployment in the country stating that most graduates remain unemployed five years after graduation because they lack market-relevant skills.
The academic don, made the disclosure during a one-day workshop tagged “Even a Professor needs a Skill” held at the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Delta State which was co-organized by the offices of the Special Assistants to the Delta State Governor on Students Affairs and Special Duties (Media), Ezekiel Okoh and Ossai Ovie respectively.
Describing the downward trend in the level of employment in the country while harping on the need for undergraduates to acquire useful vocational and or technical skills alongside their quest for tertiary institution certificates, Owamah said: “It is quite unfortunate that while the graduate manufacturing industry continues to expand, the employing counterpart continues to shrink.
“Of the 134 recognized polytechnics and 174 universities in Nigeria with an enrollment population of about 2 million, an average of 600,000 graduates is produced yearly.
Dr Owamah, however, told the audience that the job scarcity is just one side of the problem, saying, “The bigger problem is that while graduates lament the paucity of job opportunities, the employers bitterly complain that the graduates are unemployable. This is invariably an indictment on the nation’s education policies, programs and processes.”
He noted further that in the next five years, the number of degree-awarding institutions may double, and up to a million graduates added to the employment queue annually.